I’m writing this at 10:15 pm on Wednesday night, after getting home from seeing the first showing of “Ready Player One”, Steven Spielberg’s creation based off Earnest Cline’s best-selling novel.
This was just the movie I needed to see.
I read the book last June, and I loved it. The funny thing is, it fell into my lap at a time when I was searching for an escape… sort of like right now. Since closing the book last summer, I’ve been counting down the months and the days for this movie to hit the big screen.
All book lovers know that when a great book hits the theatres, it’s a gamble. The story might be completely changed, the characters may not be how you imagined, and in general, the movie just won’t do the book justice.
But when the trailer for “Ready Player One” hit the internet a few months ago, two things caught my attention: the main character, Wade, was exactly how I’d imagined him, and his raggedy life within the stacks was built just how I saw it in my mind. Success.
Before I go any further, let me give you the run-down. “Ready Player One” is the story of Wade, a teenager living in Ohio during the year 2045. It’s a time when most of the population is so fed up with life, they seek refuge in a video game called The Oasis.
Everything happens inside The Oasis – work, school, nightclubs, and well, fighting demons. In 2040, the creator of The Oasis, James Halliday, died. And he left his legacy to the first player to find all three hidden keys that unlock a golden egg.
The best parts of The Oasis? You can be whoever you want, do whatever you want, and no one has advantages over anyone else. There are no rules, and anyone can win.
I won’t go into too many details, but the movie is a little bit different from the book. However, it’s only in the ways that needed to be embellished for film’s sake – the kind of things people want to see, even if they didn’t read the book. There’s a little more love and a little more real life scenes than in the book, but it was seamless. Naturally, the movie capitalized on all of Cline’s 80’s references (and added several), but it was very fun.
There were so many great lines in the book that I noted in my book review, but none of my favorites made it into the movie. However, there were several lines worth noting:
- People come to the Oasis for all the things they can do, but they stay for all the things they can be.
- Like many of you, I only came here to escape, but I found something much bigger than just myself.
Truthfully, this movie has it all – the drive to fit in, family trials, loss, love, heartbreak, and friendship. It’s half-VR, half-IRL… and it’s eerily meta. Bravo, Mr. Cline.
I’ve already seen reviews giving Spielberg too much credit for the world Cline created – I’ll keep saying it, you’ve got to read this book. I have also seen a few comparisons to “Willy Wonka”, and sure, that’s loosely an argument to be made. But Charlie Bucket does not make for a Wade or Parzival.
As soon as the credits rolled, I noticed I’d been grinning for the entire 2+ hours, and immediately had to send a text telling someone just how good it was. This is one for the books.
Thursday night I joined a friend to see “Lady Bird” – we were especially excited after all the hype it got at the Golden Globes last weekend and wanted to catch it before it left theatres. I’d heard a little bit about it, and saw the film’s writer and director – Greta Gerwig – on an episode of “Watch What Happens Live” a few weeks back.
Here’s the official scoop on “Lady Bird” from IMDb: “Christine ‘Lady Bird’ MacPherson is a high school senior from the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ She longs for adventure, sophistication, and opportunity, but finds none of that in her Sacramento Catholic high school. LADY BIRD follows the title character’s senior year in high school, including her first romance, her participation in the school play, and most importantly, her applying for college.”
Overall, I enjoyed the writing in this movie – it was much more comedic than I expected (I laughed a lot), and the wit was very on-point. There were definitely relatable aspects to this film: small-town girl wanting to get out and explore, family pulling together to make things happen, teenage angst, wanting to fit in, and young love. I can see why lots of people loved this movie.
But there were two things that really bothered me about it. For starters, the movie was said to have taken place in 2002 (said by Gerwig herself and in the movie’s description), but there was very little in the movie to give us a timestamp. In fact, many of the cues we were given were incorrect. The first thing I saw was Alanis Morissette’s “Hand in My Pocket” was playing on the radio. This song came out in 1995. As a very huge Alanis fan, I know radio stations were not putting “Hand in My Pocket” in regular rotation in 1995.
The next clue was Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash” being a favorite song among Lady Bird and her friends, was also on the radio, and was also played at prom. “Crash” was released in 1996 – again, I used to fucking LOVE Dave Matthews Band, so don’t mess with 90’s pop music here, okay? A coworker said she disagreed with me because she didn’t discover Dave Matthews until college in the early 2000s. Okay, but fact is fact. The song was popular in 1996, and yes, you COULD argue that Lady Bird lived in a small town, so things were behind the times, but the audience still needs to be given context for that, because it looks incorrect and that makes me think Gerwig doesn’t know her shit. It was bothering me the entire movie.
You know what else? I got into my car after work on Friday and was flipping through radio stations and stumbled across Sirus XM’s channel, 90’s on 9… and who was on? Gerwig! She was playing all the songs that inspired her… FROM THE 90’S. Hmm!
The other issue I had with the film was that it didn’t follow a story arc. There was no real emotional pull for Lady Bird – I didn’t really care whether she got into the school of her choice or not. There were no real stakes. We were never told what her dreams were, aside from her saying she wanted to be “a writer in the woods”. You have to care about the characters or else there’s no real point; no emotional investment.
After hearing Gerwig on the radio, where she said she grew up in 2002 in Sacramento (the same as Lady Bird), I’d venture to say this was based on her life, which is partly good and partly bad. We can be inspired by what we’ve known and what we’ve lived, but sometimes we’re really bad at telling our own stories.
At the very least, it was funny, and I enjoyed a veggie pizza and a chocolate peanut butter shake while watching, so you can’t go wrong there.
Today, I’m settling in for a cozy, yet productive weekend. And, if you’re in the mood to shop, I’m having a SALE in my Etsy Shop this weekend (15% off everything + free domestic shipping), as I’m trying to clear out my 2017 inventory and make room for 2018 goodies!
After seeing the previews several times, I saw “Battle of the Sexes” on opening night. While I’m not a sports’ buff, I AM an Emma Stone fan, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this movie isn’t reaallllly about sports.
The movie revolves around a real-life tennis match (that turns out to be an all-out war) between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).
Bobby Riggs, a tennis player, but also a well-known gambler, is determined to show a newly-formed women’s tennis league what’s up when he challenges the #1 female player to a match. The winner takes $100,000.
But for the women, it’s about more than the money. It’s about getting equal pay, especially after they stopped competing against men (who were offered more than six times what women were offered). King wanted to win to show women they could earn equal pay, and to show men that women could draw a crowd and be equal-competitors.
But in 1973, more than just equal pay was at stake for King. She was falling in love with a woman behind the scenes of her big dual.
This movie was touching, and at times sad. We’ve come so far in some ways, but in some ways we haven’t. King didn’t want to come out: she was married to a man she obviously loved, and after all, what would people think of her if she admitted her true feelings?
Emma Stone does a superb job emulating King, and I’d venture to say Sarah Silverman has a breakout role as the women’s team manager, comically getting them a cigarette sponsorship.
Definitely a movie worth seeing, even if you already know who wins the big game 🙂
In other news, I’ve added two new items to the Etsy shop and will be adding more items throughout the week! I have also been making SO many of the Holly Golightly Sleep Masks – if you’re looking for a relevant, easy costume, this might just be the accessory you need for Halloween!
I’m pretty sure that every movie I saw this summer featured a preview for the indie-film “Patti Cake$”. Granted, I didn’t go to THAT many movies this summer, and every single one of them was at the Drafthouse, so, you get it.
But, I really wanted to see this movie.
The previews said Patti would be the character you wanted to root for this year. Hmm.
So, I saw a promo in my email inbox about seeing a screening of the movie that would feature Q&A with the cast. I wasn’t exactly sure what this would entail, but I didn’t think about it, and I bought a ticket (remember, 2017 goal: Just Do It).
I arrive at the theatre Sunday night, order some food, and my waiter asks for my ID and if I have a nut allergy. I didn’t order alcohol (I’m really trying to get thin y’all), and I definitely didn’t order anything nutty.
“We’ve got a few surprises coming,” he said.
So, they bring everyone in the audience a green gin-based shot, which the host says “will make sense once you see the movie.”
He says we’re going to do a toast, when WHO walks into the theatre but Bridget Everett!
My. Jaw. Dropped.
Although not necessarily known for her acting, she was in “Trainwreck” and also the “Sex and the City” movie. She’s mostly known for her comedy, a love of karaoke, and many hilarious appearances on “Watch What Happens Live”.
She’s also in “Patti Cake$” and was there to watch the movie with us and answer questions at the end with the film’s director, Geremy Jasper.
“Patti Cake$” is a movie that focuses on Patti, aka “Killa P”, an aspiring rapper living in a Jersey suburb.
Although it was written five years ago, this movie pulls out some relevant cultural issues, which seems politically relevant (but Jasper confirmed it was not intended to be political).
This movie was realistic, at times hurtfully so, but I couldn’t turn away. These aren’t the characters anyone aspires to be – they are flawed, but as a result, they’re incredibly relatable.
A movie about a small town, hopeless cater-waiter trying to make it big; no shit I’m all over it. Plus, the rap lyrics from Killa P (written by Jasper himself) are impressive as hell – and she takes down the haters, one by one.
Since this is an indi flick, I’m not sure what cities it will be playing in, so be on the lookout for it in your town!
Last Tuesday, I went straight from work to the Drafthouse to see “Baby Driver”. I had a free ticket to use, along with a free popcorn, and everyone I knew said this movie was SO good. Honestly, I wasn’t sure it was my style, but I figured I couldn’t really lose with Ansel Elgort as the lead. Amiright?
I got a rootbeer float, my popcorn, and was ready to roll. Being a Tuesday at 5, there weren’t too many people in the theatre. Here’s how IMDb describes “Baby Driver”: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
Here’s a little more in-depth description from Google: Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. After meeting the woman (Lily James) of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his shady lifestyle and make a clean break. Coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), Baby must face the music as a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.
The young getaway driver is known as “Baby” (Elgort), and he’s ready to get out of the business even though he’s pretty damn good at it (the opening scene will make you want to drive out of the theatre and over curbs and yell “Fuck the po-lice!”… or was that just me?).
But as things go with organized crime, you can’t necessarily put in your two weeks’ notice and be done with it. And thus we have a plot, along with a B plot of Baby falling for a waitress at the local diner – they connect over a love for music and a dream of escapism. I know the feeling.
While the events of the movie are seriously, deadly at times, the tone is smart, and pretty funny – I laughed a lot, and then felt like a psycho when I was the only one laughing. Kevin Spacey – who plays the organizer of the heists – is just the best.
In general, “Baby Driver” is getting rave reviews – despite recently being sued over one of the songs used in the film. Here’s a snippet from the New York Times’ review:
“Baby Driver” isn’t avant-travestying; it’s a pop pastiche par excellence, crammed with cubistic action; glowering and golly-gee types (played by the seductive likes of Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza González and Lily James); and an encyclopedia of cinematic allusions, all basted in wall-to-wall tuneage. At times, the whole thing spins like a tribute album, a collection of covers of varying quality: diner yaks à la Quentin Tarantino, Godardian splashes of color. When it works, the allusions give you a contact high, like when a friend turns you on to a favorite movie. At other times, Mr. Wright’s pleasure veers into the self-satisfied, and all that love feels smothering, near-bullying, like bro-cinephilia in extremis.
…Sooo, should you go see it? Yes! Yes all around – I loved this movie. The next flick on my radar? “Ingrid Goes West”. Looking forward to it!